|Publication number||US7010121 B2|
|Application number||US 09/924,070|
|Publication date||Mar 7, 2006|
|Filing date||Aug 6, 2001|
|Priority date||Aug 6, 2001|
|Also published as||CN1565086A, CN100397796C, EP1417774A1, EP1417774A4, US20030027589, WO2003015298A1|
|Publication number||09924070, 924070, US 7010121 B2, US 7010121B2, US-B2-7010121, US7010121 B2, US7010121B2|
|Inventors||Dietmar F. Wennemer, Akos Feher, Isaac Ward, Kenneth Lawrence Weselake, David Owen West, Souhail Abood, Mai Doan|
|Original Assignee||Siemens Communications, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (16), Classifications (25), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to mobile telephones, and more specifically to a mobile telephone having a single piece molded housing and method for its manufacture.
2. Description of the Related Art
Presently, housings of mobile telephones are used to provide structural, esthetical, and protective functions for the telephone. Such housings universally consist of two or more components or parts formed of a plastic material using an injection molding process. These components are then assembled together using fasteners such as screws, snap features, and the like to enclose and support the telephone's functional components.
The use of multiple-component housings in mobile telephones presents numerous design and manufacturing problems. For example, the manufacture of such housing components requires the design, production and maintenance of separate molding tools for each component. Further, the fit and quality of each housing component must be carefully controlled during design and manufacture for proper assembly. As a result, design and tooling costs for the production of such multiple component housings can be high. Moreover, the time required for the design of the internal and external features of the components of the housing and the design and manufacture of molding tools utilized for manufacturing such components can be undesirably long.
Complicating such design and manufacturing problems, the various housing components are often manufactured by parties other than the assembler of the mobile telephone. Thus, in a typical manufacturing process, such as manufacturing process 100 shown in
Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a mobile telephone having a single piece molded housing or shell and a method for its manufacture. In exemplary embodiments, the mobile telephone includes a core assembly for supporting the functional components of the mobile telephone. The core assembly may further include ancillary hardware components such as an electrical power source, user interface input/output devices, and the like required for operation of the telephone. A single piece shell is molded about the core assembly so that the core assembly is substantially enclosed by the shell.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention claimed. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate an embodiment of the invention and together with the general description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
The numerous objects and advantages of the present invention may be better understood by those skilled in the art by reference to the accompanying figures in which:
Reference will now be made in detail to the presently preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
The core assembly 202 may further include ancillary hardware components such as an electrical power source, user interface input/output devices (e.g., displays, touchscreen assemblies, keypads, apparatus for voice input, etc.), and the like required for operation of the telephone 200. For example, in the embodiment shown in
Shell 204 is comprised of a single-piece housing formed about core assembly 202 so that it substantially encloses functional core 206, display assembly 208, keypad assembly 210 and battery assembly 212. In exemplary embodiments, shell 204 may be molded around core assembly 202 via a suitable molding technology. Exemplary molding technologies that may be adapted for use in the fabrication of mobile telephone 200 include reaction injection molding (RIM), compression molding, foam urethane molding, reinforced foam molding, air casting, vacuum casting, dip casting, wax model casting, extrusion/blow molding, thermoforming, rotational casting, lost core molding, or the like. Depending on the requirements of the particular telephone design being manufactured and the molding technology employed, shell 204 may be molded from a suitable plastic material, which may be either a thermoplastic or a thermoset material.
In embodiments of the invention, part or all of shell 204 may be formed of a translucent or transparent material allowing all or part of core assembly 202 to be seen through the shell 204. In such embodiments, substances such as metal flakes, glitter, colored fibers, or the like may be suspended within the material for further decoration of the mobile telephone 200. Alternately, shell 204 may be molded of a generally opaque material that prevents core assembly 202 to be viewed by users of the mobile telephone 200. The material used for molding shell 204 may be tinted with a color prior to molding or painted after molding depending on design and marketing requirements of the manufacturer. Further, decoration and indicia may be printed or painted on shell 204 after molding, applied as decals, or applied using techniques such as in-mold decoration (IMD), applique molding, or the like. In embodiments of the invention wherein shell 204 is translucent or transparent, core assembly 202 may likewise be painted or decorated with graphics, logos, and the like, or provided with indicia.
Shell 204 may be formed of a material that hardens during molding to provide structural rigidity to telephone 200. Alternately, the material forming shell 204 may remain at least partially resilient after molding. In such embodiments, core assembly 202 may function as a structural backbone for telephone 200, providing structural rigidity to shell 204. For example, functional core 206 may include a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly that, when coupled to battery assembly 212, prevents shell 204 from being bent or twisted. Optionally, a structural member (not shown) may support the PCB for providing additional rigidity to the telephone 200.
Features may be molded into shell 204 for providing necessary access to components of core assembly 202. For example, as shown in
Shell 204 further provides access to display assembly 208 for viewing of displayed information. For instance, as shown in
Shell 204 also allows selection of keys of keypad assembly 210. For example, in the embodiment shown in
It will be appreciated that a single core assembly 202 may be accommodated by shells 204 having different external shapes. Thus, the shape of the mobile telephone 200 may be changed or updated periodically without affecting the design of the core assembly 202. Moreover, when the outer shape of the shell 204 is changed, only the outer surface is defined since the shell 204 is molded about the telephone's core assembly eliminating internal features. Thus, the amount of detail design required to define the shape of the shell 204 is reduced compared with prior art mobile telephones having multiple-component housings wherein the inner and outer surfaces of each component must be defined. Similarly, the core assembly 202 of the mobile telephone may be changed without modifying the shell 204 of the telephone 200. Thus, core assembly 202 of a mobile telephone 200 having a particular shape may be modified to accommodate different air interface technologies, or periodically updated to incorporate changes in those technologies without change to the shell 204.
Based on the description of an exemplary mobile telephone 200 in accordance with the present invention provided herein, it is contemplated that the specific configuration of the telephone 200 may be altered by persons skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. For instance, in one embodiment, display assembly 208 may be enlarged and provided with a touch sensitive overlay or digitizer for entry of information via a stylus. In such an embodiment, keypad assembly 210 may be eliminated and its function provided by display assembly 208, thereby allowing mobile telephone 200 to provide additional functions such as organizers, calendars, electronic mail, network (e.g., Internet) browsing, and the like. Moreover, mobile telephone 200 is described herein in an exemplary embodiment as having a single component body. However, it is contemplated that dual component body telephones commonly referred to in the art as “flip-phones” or the like may be manufactured in accordance with the present invention. Such telephones typically include a main body portion containing the earpiece, display, and keypad of the telephone, and an extendable cover assembly containing the telephone's microphone. When not in use, the cover assembly is folded against the body portion thereby reducing the size of the telephone and protecting its display and keypad from damage.
Referring now to
As shown in
Next, ancillary hardware components such as an electrical power source, user interface input/output devices, and the like, that are necessary for operation of the mobile telephone are assembled to the functional core at step 304. For instance, in one embodiment shown in
Turning again to
It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, that various molding technologies may be adapted for molding the mobile telephone's shell depending on the particular requirements of the manufacturer. Such molding technologies include, but are not limited to, reaction injection molding (RIM), compression molding, foam urethane molding, reinforced foam molding, air casting, vacuum casting, dip casting, wax model casting, extrusion/blow molding, thermoforming, rotational casting, and lost core molding. Consequently, it is contemplated that the exact configuration of molding apparatus may be modified by those of skill in the art to accommodate the specific molding technology employed. Such modification would not depart from the scope and spirit of the present invention as claimed in the appended claims.
By molding the shell of the mobile telephone directly onto the telephone's functional core assembly, the manufacturing process for the mobile telephone may be simplified. For instance, in exemplary embodiments, the core assembly may be assembled and molded into the shell at one physical location. In this manner, the assembly, molding, testing, packaging, and shipping of mobile telephones may be accomplished in a linear sequence. Thus, the use of external sources for the manufacture housing components may be eliminated.
When a new telephone shell is designed, only the outer surface of the shell need be defined since the shell is molded about the telephone's core assembly. Thus, compared with prior art mobile telephones having multiple component housings wherein the inner and outer surfaces of each component must be defined, the amount of detail required to define the shape of the shell is reduced. Accordingly, the costs and time requirements associated with the design of telephones employing the present invention are reduced. Additionally, because only one molding tool is built and maintained, tooling costs are greatly reduced. Moreover, fewer prototypes are required to verify the mold design, simplifying quality control. For instance, in exemplary embodiments, the time required for the design of a mobile telephone in accordance with the present invention may be reduced from an average of twelve weeks to approximately eight weeks, while the number of mechanical parts such as housing components, snaps, screws, and the like may be reduced by up to approximately 40 percent. Similarly, the amount of time required to develop tooling for production of the telephone may be reduced from an average of four weeks to approximately two weeks, while the cost of such tooling may be reduced by up to approximately 60 percent. Thus, the overall cost of the telephone may be reduced compared with mobile telephones employing multiple component housings.
Although the invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it should be recognized that elements thereof may be altered by persons skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. It is understood that the specific orders or hierarchies of steps in the methods 300 & 500 illustrated in
It is believed that the of the present invention and many of its attendant advantages will be understood by the foregoing description, and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the components thereof without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention or without sacrificing all of its material advantages. The form herein before described being merely an explanatory embodiment thereof, it is the intention of the following claims to encompass and include such changes.
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|U.S. Classification||379/433.01, 264/275, 264/259, 29/458, 264/132, 264/271.1|
|International Classification||H04M1/02, H04Q7/20, H04M1/23, H05K5/00, B29C51/00, H04B1/38, H04B1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||B29C2045/0079, B29C45/0053, B29C45/14639, Y10T29/49885, H04M1/026, H04M1/0202, H04M1/0249, B29C51/00, B29L2031/3431|
|European Classification||H04M1/02A, B29C45/14M, H04M1/02A10|
|Nov 30, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SIEMENS INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION MOBILE, LLC,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WENNEMER, DIETMAR F.;FEHER, AKOS;WARD, ISAAC;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:012342/0140;SIGNING DATES FROM 20011009 TO 20011116
|Dec 21, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SIEMENS COMMUNICATIONS, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:SIEMENS INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION MOBILE, LLC;REEL/FRAME:017135/0873
Effective date: 20041001
|Mar 14, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SIEMENS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:020654/0527
Effective date: 20080229
|Aug 6, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Mar 13, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8